breaking never limits itself to the seems

i am sitting

in a cafe,

chatting

– i think-

i am smiling

– i think-

i am trying

– i think-

to remember…

when,

crack,

some part of my mandible has split and a piece of my face

and a piece of my face has chipped

and slipped off into my soup

before i realize it’s gone

 

immediately

my head bows to look

for what I have lost but,

somehow, before my hands

grasp at my image in horror

though not before their clenching,

i stop myself

 

i open my hands,

i do not unclench,

i lift my head, without straightening my neck,

without straightening my neck,

and i continue to try, to remember how…

to try, to remember how…

my ear has slipped,

hanging now at the crux

between neck and skull; it is a little distracting,

it is a little distracting,

i forget.

 

i scratch around the area,

hoping to trip or trick

a synapse into reconnecting,

 

i get lucky.

with a blink i can hear again

with everything, well,

my ear anyway,

in its’ right place.

 

i check their face

to see if i have missed

anything,

(everything);

it is smiling at me

so it must be fine,

i didn’t miss, much,

i can go back

to remembering how to…

 

i have no control,

i stretch to meet

the openness their face indicates

of their heart

and my nose splatters

into the lemonade i reached

for to get away from the widening

gap of their lips;

there is no splash

but i worry i have

now ruined the pleasantry

as it has become quite difficult for me to breathe

for me to breathe.

 

i am no longer a beginner, my luck doesn’t last

my luck doesn’t last

and i see i have lost the light in their eyes, somehow,

the light in their eyes, somehow,

somehow,

damn; you can’t win them all, they say, no one’s ever

you can’t win them all, they say, no one’s ever

they say;

no one’s ever said, at least within my hearing, if we can lose them all

at least within my hearing, if we can lose them all

if we can lose them all.

 

the advances, the giggles, the long gazes like headlights

the giggles, the long gazes like headlights

the long gazes like headlights

illuminating a path worn by the soft passage of sheep, not

by the soft passage of sheep, not

not by me.

not for me.

i am sharp at heart

in tooth and claw,

i bite into my sandwich

i worry it will leak out,

through the void

filled barrier and splatter

onto the tablecloth,

perfect.

i already lost the light,

i’d at least like to

try

to keep my dignity

as my face is beyond

immediate repair

 

it seems the only things that won’t fall

are the tears,

those cling stubbornly

like rock-climbers on the curves

of my lashes, maybe

they need eyeballs to fall

properly but those disintegrated

as soon as we sat down,

their dust the salt in my meal.

 

check please,

just in case there’s something

still hanging on;

ah,

cheekbones,

good old cheekbones,

well the right one anyway,

better right than left i always say, when

when left is not an option; still got it.

 

i put it all together again, as much as

as much as i can find in the pockets of my mind

in the pockets of my mind

and huddled in the dusty corners of

of my heart.

once i am back

to where i go for sleeping,

there is time for gentleness there,

if not actual healing,

i may take stock

of what’s been lost and perhaps

and perhaps trace

the departure routes.

 

i rarely find them again, the pieces that fall,

the pieces that fall,

i wish i did, sometimes;

sometimes;

i feel so naked without

without them and being naturally lean

and being naturally lean

i chill easily,

the drafts don’t help and

and i’ve never seen

a treatment for draftiness of the skull

of the skull that didn’t involve death

death

 

so instead i sit near the window

i use as a mirror reflecting, wandering

after where those pieces have gone.

i find my nose in a puddle

i cried the night

the wood threatened

to make us mud

and stick us back

into the earth

early

by the banks

of the river

 

that blasted bit of mandible

had fallen in the nook

of his parent’s couch while

they were in greece and while

he assaulted me

somewhere between

a bottle of 151, my independence, and

my independence, and

and my all-time favorite book

all-time

favorite book

book.

 

these tears are like my torso pressed

are like my torso

pressed against the seat back of the bus refusing

the seat

back of the bus

refusing to follow gravity in a slow arc towards

gravity in a slow arc towards

towards the earth-

i rub my nose and mandible

and mandible

into them.

 

they crust

on my eyes

like scabs,

such ugly,

effective,

housekeepers.

 

i use their

capacity to carry

a charge to send

an s-o-s,

shame of survival,

message.

 

it tips out through my

through my fingers

as they try

to hold t(his) hand

which they let slip because for all their

because for all their

for all their

remarkable dexterity

opposable thumbs

are terrible

at multi-tasking.

Published by

moonwise

Jihan McDonald is a facilitator, counselor, writer and educator from Oakland, CA. Currently completing a Masters in Social Transformation, Jihan derives deep pleasure from the meaning of words, the reading of books, the dancing of feelings, and the naming of squirrels. Jihan greatly dislikes inequity & close-toed shoes.

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